March 21, 2018

The Palette is available to all interested with an e-Subscription

In this issue:

Squamish paints a pretty picture for those into the arts
What Is the Perfect Color Worth?
Paint while you wait for your plane at Pittsburgh airport
Art Museums in Puerto Rico Face Long and Expensive Recovery
Women Art Workers in Argentina Demand Gender Equality, and Museums Start to Listen
Calgary art instructors get boost as laid-off workers look to reconnect with their passion




Squamish paints a pretty picture for those into the arts
Dedicated art supply store a first for growing town

SQUAMISH, BC: Living in the outdoor recreation capital of Canada has a lot of benefits, but for those who consider themselves slightly allergic to physical exertion or the elements, it can be a harder place to find your niche.

Hayley Read knows this through and through. Having spent her entire life in Squamish the owner of Up With Art says she's long recognized a core need for the town to be "accessible for all."

Facilitating the arts and encouraging local youth to learn how to express themselves is one of her key mandates.

"A lot of us are really privileged in Squamish to be able to pay for private lessons and do things that cost money, but there's definitely a demographic that can't," said Read, who is also a piano teacher.
"Unfortunately art is not as prevalent in the school system as it should be, right? So if there's this gap in school and there are demographics that can't afford private lessons, then you have to fill the gap somehow. We're really interested in helping to do that."

Situated in the Chieftain Centre next to the Naked Lunch, Up With Art is Squamish's first dedicated art supply store, according to Read. Now in its second year of operations, it offers beginner, student and professional grade art supplies, including canvases, Golden brand paints, needle felting supplies, artist's clay, inks, sketchbooks, and more.

"We work really hard to be super competitive with the city. If people ask for things we try to get them in. We want to make it so people don't have to drive to Vancouver. If we are not price matching, by the time you've driven down to the city, with gas money and your time, it's comparable," said Read.

Up With Art also offers classes for children, teens, and adults of all levels of experience. Read, who really loves teaching children, also offers a lot of camps for kids, whether it be for school breaks or Pro D days. Artists such as Liesl Petersen, Toby Jaxon, Leilani Beckett, and Lone Tratt all teach classes in the store's studio space.

For the grown-ups, Read says private parties, which can include wine, have become a staple.

"We've been finding that people really like to come and do everything from acrylic painting to watercolour to alcohol inks — we provide as much or as little assistance as you need. Birthday parties are especially fun. Kids typically will work with clay, and for adults, we offer the group the chance to work on a collaborative project like a mosaic paper mural. Everyone can add to it and the birthday person can take home a nice four by four-foot collaboration of what the friends have done. People bring cakes, whatever they want – we set up a table for them, and everyone has a great time!"

Read is emphatic about embracing the entire community when it comes to arts, pursuing opportunities with the Hilltop Seniors Society and trying to bring teens into the space.

"Living in Squamish with its incredible outdoor recreation, not everyone can or wants to do that. Not everyone is inclined that way. We want to be the place for those teens and kids to go – for those kids to be able to say: "This is my place that I can go." They can feel that this is their little hangout.
"We have parents who come in and put their kids on a timer for how long they can be in the store, and I swear some of them know the inventory better than we do, almost!" The Squamish Chief


What Is the Perfect Color Worth?
Inside the mysterious art — and big business — of color forecasting.

Last spring, a dozen people filtered into a sunny, whitewashed conference room on the seventh floor of the Royal College of Art, overlooking London’s Hyde Park. Mostly Western Europeans from different precincts of the fashion industry, they had been called together by a British man named David Shah, editor and publisher of the “Pantone View Colour Planner.” The book, issued each February and August, is a four-ring binder containing pigment and textile standards of 64 colors arranged into nine distinct palettes. Geared primarily toward designers and manufacturers, the book forecasts color trends (whether consumers are expected to gravitate more toward brights or neutrals, jewel tones or pastels) two years in advance. Each edition is centered on some forgivingly abstract theme; recent volumes have investigated the chromatic possibilities of “disguise,” “time” and “muse,” for example.

That day, as the team decided on colors for Spring/Summer 2019, the theme was love. It was a balmy May morning, but Shah, with thin graying hair and glasses, was dressed in a navy blue buttoned sweater with a thick scarf wrapped loosely around his neck. He frequently interrupted with questions as the handpicked members of his team took turns presenting “mood boards” they had brought with them. Like oversize pages from a scrapbook, these displays included photographs, drawings, artworks, ribbons, textiles, paint samples, bits of plastic, lengths of rope, tourist tchotchkes and, in one instance, a piece of frilly lingerie.

There were spirited, far-ranging discussions of art, film, music, theater, books, fashion, museum exhibitions and advertising — anything that might hint, even remotely, at where color was headed. Amid the clamor of voices, Shah asked an American forecaster in the room to give the view from across the Atlantic.

“What is the zeitgeist going on in the United States about color?” Shah asked. “Are they big colors? Are they strong colors? Prime colors?”

“I think what’s going on in the United States now is that it’s all happening,” the woman replied. “It’s almost reflective of the conflict going on around us — where you’re not having one definite color correction, but you’re seeing examples in various areas. I think it’s mostly about mixes.”

“So it’s not about solids,” Shah said. “It’s about how you put colors together?”

“Exactly, and different from what it’s been before,” the woman said. “It’s almost like a counterculture type of a feeling — you deliberately use colors that would not ordinarily work together.”

“Accidental colors,” Shah said, coining a phrase.

“That’s a good way of putting it, yes,” the woman agreed.

The conclave broke for lunch, and Shah walked around the table alone, scratching his chin and muttering to himself while sorting mood boards into piles of similar colors — “editing,” he said. Occasionally he would wince at having mislaid a board, then pick it up again and set it down someplace else. He worked hurriedly, and by the time the others returned from their meals, he was finished, having arranged the materials into precise groups from which the winning shades could be selected. That afternoon, he and his collaborators finalized the palettes. In six weeks, the forecast would be available to anyone interested enough to part with $795.

Color forecasters like Shah and his team at Pantone have tremendous influence over the visible elements of the global economy — the parts of it that are designed, manufactured and purchased — though their profession itself is all but invisible. If you’re familiar with color forecasting at all, it’s most likely thanks to a scene in the 2006 film “The Devil Wears Prada,” in which the fashion-magazine mandarin Miranda Priestly, played by Meryl Streep, explains to her young, fashion-skeptical assistant why the assistant, played by Anne Hathaway, happens to be wearing a sweater in a very particular shade of blue known as cerulean. Cerulean, Priestly explains, first showed itself a few years earlier in a collection by Oscar de la Renta and was soon adopted by a number of other influential designers before it “filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner, where you no doubt fished it out of some clearance bin,” she says.

“That blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs,” she says. “And it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room.” In reality, it was selected by Pantone. Six years before the release of “The Devil Wears Prada,” Pantone’s forecasters named cerulean the company’s first-ever Color of the Year.

In the nearly two decades since then, as digital design and social media have expanded the ranks of color obsessives, Pantone has become not just a company but a sensation, its brand bestriding the globe like a behemoth. Its color forecasts, too, have retained their reputation as some of the most influential in the world, even as the field of competitors has grown crowded — not just with other companies but, thanks to the internet, with people on social-networking sites like Tumblr and Pinterest who have a knack for spotting color trends and enough followers to matter. For the class of fashion and industrial designers who make up Pantone’s customer base, picking the right color — and exactly the right shade of that color — can feel like one of the most important decisions they’ll make all year. Companies will pay almost anything to get it right, and the rarefied, vaguely mystical art of doing just that happens to be Pantone’s business.

For most of history, dyestuffs were derived only from natural materials like plants, minerals and invertebrates, offering people a narrow range of colors from which to choose. Only the rich could afford to clad themselves in more-exotic hues. This changed in the mid-19th century with the rise of the synthetic chemical industry. In London, in the spring of 1856, a college student named William Henry Perkin was experimenting with aniline, an organic compound he extracted from coal tar, in an attempt to synthesize quinine, an antimalarial drug then in great demand among inhabitants of the British Empire’s equatorial possessions. As Regina Lee Blaszczyk recounts in her 2012 book, “The Color Revolution,” the experiment failed but by accident produced a dark, viscous substance. It happened to stain a rag, and presto! Mauve was born. Two years later, Princess Victoria, the queen’s oldest child, was married in a mauve dress, igniting the world’s first fashion craze for a synthetic color.

More discoveries soon followed: magenta, Hofmann’s violet, Lyons blue, malachite green, Bismarck brown and aniline black. By the 1880s, dye houses in Germany, which was by then the center of the chemical industry, and French textile mills were issuing seasonal color cards and ribbon samples of various synthetic shades. When the outbreak of World War I cut off the supply of German dyestuffs, threatening the color industry with collapse, a consortium of American mills and manufacturers formed the Textile Color Card Association, which developed the first industrywide color library and trend forecast, based solely on dyes that could be manufactured domestically. After the armistice, the group continued to be a hub for the best intelligence on color trends emanating from Europe’s fashion capitals and, in 1955, renamed itself the Color Association of the United States. Similar organizations soon took form in other countries around the world.

The modern color industry had arrived, if only in a confined sort of way. Born out of the fashion business, it remained rooted there for decades even as it exerted powerful influence on distant parts of the consumer economy, such as the automotive and home-furnishings sectors. But at the turn of the millennium, the color industry’s center of gravity shifted seemingly overnight with a big bang in the field of industrial design: the release, in 1998, of Apple’s iMac G3 desktop computer.

Available in 11 translucent shades, from Bondi Blue to Tangerine, the iMac ushered in a new era in which consumers began to value everyday purchases not strictly, or even primarily, for their utility but as a form of self-expression. “That colorful plastic was everywhere in industrial design for the next several years,” Virginia Postrel, the author of several books on aesthetics, told me. “Not just consumer electronics but all sorts of ordinary objects like irons and trash cans. It was an easy and cheap way to make things look fun and fresh.” Eventually, the enthusiasm faded; Apple itself shifted its palette to neutral whites, blacks and silvers. But the larger idea that the iMac inaugurated — namely that color choices are serious business and can determine the success or failure of any product in any industry — continues to ripple through the marketplace.

Steve Jobs’s revolution in commercial aesthetics would have been impossible without another one that occurred 35 years earlier. A nagging problem had troubled the color industry from its inception: how to communicate accurately the subtleties of perception. In his 1963 book, “Interaction of Color,” the Bauhaus artist and Yale professor Josef Albers wrote: “If one says ‘Red’ (the name of a color) and there are 50 people listening, it can be expected that there will be 50 reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different.” There are innumerable colors, he continued, but only about 30 names for them. And even if you could describe all of those colors, wouldn’t your sense of them still differ from someone else’s? As the British journalist Kassia St. Clair writes in “The Secret Lives of Color,” “You could no more meaningfully secure a precise universal definition for all the known shades than you could plot the coordinates of a dream.”

The man who came closest to doing just that was Lawrence Herbert. In 1956, Herbert, who had recently graduated with a degree in biology and chemistry from Hofstra University on Long Island, took a job as a press operator and color matcher at M & J Levine, a New York-based advertising firm and the parent company of a small printing concern called Pantone Press. As the company’s founders turned to other lines of business, Herbert took over the printing division and in a few short years, pioneered a cheaper, more accurate printing method that allowed him to produce a full spectrum of colors from 10 basic pigments. Not long after that, he bought out the company’s printing unit, along with its name, and in 1963 introduced the Pantone Matching System.

Herbert’s system was at once transformative and elegantly simple. It measured precisely the mixture of pigments necessary to produce a specific shade, each of which was assigned a reference number. Pantone then compiled the colors and numbers into books. Rather than provide inks directly, it sold the means by which a printer could faithfully and consistently reproduce any color in Pantone’s library. In doing so, Herbert tamed color’s mysterious nature and turned it into a commodity, in essence quantifying what had until then been unquantifiable.

Pantone and its parent company, X-Rite — a maker of color-management systems and software that acquired Pantone in 2007 — now have 17 offices and production facilities around the world and offer products used by 10 million designers and manufacturers every day. Pantone’s color library, which continues to grow by the year, contains roughly 10,000 unique shades. The company’s expansion has been helped along by globalization and the offshoring of manufacturing. With designers in Europe, say, marketers in the United States and factories in China, a company can easily communicate color choices up and down the supply chain, so long as everyone involved references the same Pantone chip — Albers’s 50 reds reduced to one.

Those chips have become the lingua franca of the visual world, and every single one of them is manufactured in a squat, two-story brick building on Commerce Boulevard in a gritty, industrial section of Carlstadt, N.J. The plant employs about 75 people, whose days are spent in the manufacture of Pantone color standards — the company’s shades applied to materials like cotton, paper and plastic. When I visited one rainy morning last August, I was surprised by how aggressively anti-chromatic the facility was — gray carpets and walls painted in a shade that a sign identified as Snow White (11-0602). The building’s blandness, I learned, is no accident: Colors are best viewed in a neutral environment in which their essence can be more easily seen.

I met Beverly Bell, Pantone’s manager of color and quality standards for textiles, in a dimly lit room adjacent to the factory floor. Nearby, an employee in a white lab coat was standing at a countertop light box, checking a fresh batch of cotton-based color standards for flaws. The box emits D65 light, which, Bell said, simulates the midday sun in Western Europe — supposedly the purest possible illumination and the industry standard for assessing color.

Such exacting controls are in place at every stage of production. Cotton swatches, for example, after being dyed, are conditioned overnight in a machine that exposes them to D65 light and a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit at 50 percent humidity. Afterward, they are measured with a spectrophotometer, which compares colors against the Pantone standard with hyperaccuracy. If they pass inspection, the swatches are then hermetically sealed inside plastic, ultraviolet-resistant envelopes, which protect against fading. Colors applied to paper and plastic undergo similar testing.

The final quality safeguard is the human eye. Every Pantone employee is required to pass an annual exam called the Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue Color Vision Test. The test taker has to arrange four rows of samples, 85 in all, into descending order based on their shade. “Anyone who’s actually working with color has to get a ‘superior’ rating,” Bell said. “So that means no more than three errors.” That morning, trying my luck on a blue/purple row, I made only one mistake, and might have congratulated myself had Bell not already told me that Pantone’s reigning color-test champion, a woman named Madlin Tadros, who works in the textiles department, has never erred in 21 years.

The unremarkable appearance of Pantone’s offices belies the excitement the brand engenders around the world. Designers, regardless of their industry, always seem to have Pantone’s color books within reach, like some sacred text of a secret society. “It’s amazing when you look at it,” an interior designer told me. “I can’t imagine working with anything else.” The company’s color standards are often employed by exacting obsessives for decidedly off-label purposes too. A fish company recently enlisted Pantone to assist with a guide for sushi freshness. And Calvin Klein, according to Lisa Marsh’s 2004 book, “The House of Klein,” used to keep a Pantone chip taped to the wall next to the office coffee maker “to ensure he’d get just the right mix of coffee and milk every time.”

In the past decade, Pantone has become a consumer brand in its own right: It now licenses clothes, shoes, cosmetics, kitchenware, furniture, cellphones, jigsaw puzzles, children’s books, skateboards, key chains and thumb drives, in Pantone colors and bearing its logo. Pantone is privately owned and does not report financial information, but Fast Company wrote in 2015 that a full 15 percent of its millions of dollars in annual revenue now derives from commercial licensing.

And the cult of Pantone extends far beyond the company’s own merchandise. An online fan club of the Los Angeles Dodgers, for example, has taken to calling itself by the team’s official shade of blue, Pantone 294. An authorized Pantone-themed boutique hotel in Brussels immerses its guests in a kaleidoscopic array of colors, right down to their bedspreads and coffee mugs. Several Instagram users, each with tens of thousands of followers, regularly pair their photographs with the corresponding Pantone chips, and a Brazilian photographer named Angélica Dass has made portraits of more than 3,000 people in 13 countries, all sorted by skin color according to the Pantone Matching System.

This alchemy of color chips into cultural cachet is largely the work of Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, a small in-house consultancy, founded in 1986. A native New Yorker with shoulder-length brown hair, Pressman arrived at Pantone nearly 20 years ago, shortly after the color industry’s iMac-inaugurated big bang, and since then has worked to make Pantone a household name. Her division produces several seasonal forecasts, as well as a magazine called Viewpoint Colour, which anticipate trends up to three years in advance. It has also helped brands — from Tiffany and Victoria’s Secret to Barbie, Schweppes and the Royal Mail in Britain — develop proprietary shades. On the day I visited, Pressman showed me an uncut sheet of soon-to-be-released Pantone chips for Love Symbol No.2, a shade adapted from the purple paint on one of Prince’s favorite pianos and commissioned by his estate after his death.

That a company engaged in the manufacture of something so intangible — and, for most consumers, so useless — as color standards could develop a widespread and devoted following among people far removed from its intended clientele speaks to a larger cultural phenomenon: a growing popular enthusiasm for color in its own right and for its own sake, free of the constraints of form or function. Color’s liberation owes much to the rise of the internet, particularly the explosion of photo sharing on social media. As this digital revolution took shape, Pantone found itself perfectly positioned to exploit it. “Pantone did not create desire for color,” said Ellen Sideri, founder and chief executive of ESP TrendLab in the garment district in New York. “It has, though, facilitated the use of color globally by creating a common digital color language.” A result is that “our culture has become supervisual, and more than ever before. Color has become a definer of many things.”

Each December for nearly two decades, the Pantone Color Institute has tried to capture the moment in the form of its Color of the Year, which it has described as “a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.” This year’s pick is Ultra Violet (18-3838), a bluish purple that, the company asserts, is associated with the counterculture, nonconformity, mindfulness and visionary thinking, and that “suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead and the discoveries beyond where we are now.” The release of the Color of the Year occasions a media frenzy and, after it, a torrent of bandwagon-hopping service journalism: For months after this year’s selection, Google Alerts continued to crowd my inbox with articles suggesting how I might use Ultra Violet to update my wardrobe, redecorate my living room, create floral bouquets or crochet a scarf. A Swedish art director created a recipe for an Ultra Violet-colored smoothie.

Sometimes Pantone’s pick validates an established trend, as Rose Quartz (13-1520) did for the shade popularly known as Millennial Pink in 2016 — about as risky a choice as the N.B.A.’s picking LeBron James for Most Valuable Player. In other cases, like Ultra Violet, the company has treaded nearer to the leading edge, more a demonstration of power, perhaps, than astuteness. “The actual tones themselves I’ve not loved,” Jane Monnington Boddy, the London-based color director at WGSN, a tracker of global fashion trends, told me. But over all, she said, she was impressed with “the philosophy behind them and how they’ve captured what’s happening in life.”

The Pantone Color Institute is less the elite unit its name implies than a loose network of specialists drawn from Pressman’s contacts. They live in roughly 20 countries and travel the world, she told me, from the established fashion capitals of Europe to other “trend forward” cities like Shanghai, Buenos Aires, Melbourne and Cape Town, scouring the fashion, technology, houseware, home-furnishing and automotive industries for glimmers of nascent color trends. “I’m very circumspect about who I bring in,” Pressman told me. “That person has to be of a certain caliber.”

The person whose judgment Pressman trusts most lives and works in a restored farmhouse painted in the earthy red shade of Rosewood (19-1532). It is set amid towering coniferous trees along a quiet, well-to-do street on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, about 35 minutes by ferry from downtown Seattle. The rolling grounds surrounding the house feature carefully tended gardens of hydrangeas in various colors and a rainbow of other flowering plants, each one identified, like shades in a Pantone fan deck, with a label staked into the loam. The owner is the Pantone Color Institute’s always immaculately dressed executive director, Leatrice Eiseman. She began consulting for the company in 1985 at the invitation of the founder, Larry Herbert, and since then has become its public face or, as one of her European associates put it, “Ms. Color in America.”

I visited Eiseman in July, when she was teaching her annual class on trend forecasting and color psychology at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, and she allowed me to sit in. When I met her at the museum, Eiseman, with her thick-framed glasses, jewelry and bobbed, sandy blond hair, bore more than a passing resemblance to Anna Wintour. Her long-sleeved shirt and patterned pants, precisely coordinated, offered an eye-catching blend of oranges, greens and blues, as if she meant her attire to double as a kind of couture business card.

I sat in the back row of a classroom on the museum’s second floor and watched her students file in. There were two dozen of them, most in their 20s or 30s, all but one of them women. Rami Kim, the founder of a color institute in Seoul who was on her third pilgrimage to Bainbridge, had brought along seven other South Koreans. Sitting to my right was a former nurse from South Africa, now an interior designer, who said she was hoping to learn more about color combinations, and to my left, a young woman who worked for a small family-owned party-supply company, who told me she was interested in the application of color to edible paper. The lone man in the class was a software engineer contemplating a change of careers to something “more creative.” All the students paid $1,775 for the privilege of being there, and several of them spoke of their instructor with a respect bordering on reverence. “There’s no one who can talk about color like she can,” one of them told me.

Promptly at 8 a.m., Eiseman switched off the lights and asked a student to close the blinds. “The colors will be more vibrant if we get more darkness,” she said. For the next six hours, clicking through illustrative photographs from her travels to more than 60 countries, Eiseman delivered a cascade of assertions: Kids everywhere in the world gravitate to red, blue and yellow crayons; people living near the Equator tend to prefer brighter colors; readers have better recall if texts are printed in something other than black and white; gamblers place higher bets under red lights than under blue ones; there was no word for the color “orange” in Europe until the fruit arrived sometime in the Middle Ages; blue shutters in the American southwest are meant to ward off evil spirits; many fire departments have begun painting their engines yellow-green because red, the traditional color, too often appears brown in twilight. At one point, when Eiseman paused to take questions, a young woman raised her hand.

“Are there people you can’t teach color to, people who just don’t get it?” she asked.

Eiseman thought for a moment, and said, “You get resistance from people when you’re working, people who think that color is immaterial, not as important as everything else, but you can usually find something to talk about in their background, mostly coming out of their childhood, that will trigger a response.”

The idea that colors exert powerful, often subliminal forces on the human mind is at once Eiseman’s ardent belief and her professional stock in trade. As she wrote 18 years ago in “Pantone Guide to Communicating With Color,” “some experts believe that humans have an ‘ancient wisdom,’ that throughout eons of evolutionary history going back to the beginning of time, we have an associative memory concerning space, form, patterns and colors.” Leveraging that wisdom and revealing the unspoken meanings and emotions conveyed by slight, almost imperceptible variations in color has been her life’s work.

Eiseman was born and raised in Baltimore. As a teenager, she dabbled in modeling and won a voice scholarship to the Peabody Institute, but turned it down after deciding against pursuing a career in music. A few years later she met Herb Eiseman, her future husband, a Hollywood talent agent who went on to lead the music publishing division at 20th Century Fox. The couple married and moved to the Los Angeles area, where Eiseman finished her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Antioch University and, afterward, earned a counseling certificate from U.C.L.A. She and Herb had two children, and while they were in school, Eiseman began teaching classes part time at an occupational-training center for women in the San Fernando Valley.

It was there that she began thinking systematically about color. “The concept that I developed was called the ‘color clock,’ and it was based on color as it appears in nature,” she told me. “How Monet painted the haystacks, various things at various times of day, and how the color seemed to change because of the light.” She applied the idea to women’s clothes and cosmetics, “using my students as guinea pigs to see if it really held weight.”

In 1983, she published a book called “Alive With Color.” Soon, she was fielding phone calls asking her to weigh in on the color of everything from living rooms to medical equipment. One caller was Pantone’s Larry Herbert, who invited her to meet with him in New York. “I didn’t even know Pantone existed,” she said. It turned out that Herbert, who’d seen her book, was on the hunt for someone with expertise in the psychology of color, in part to help elevate his company’s public profile. Eiseman jumped at the chance, and 33 years later, she’s still Pantone’s ambassador at large.

Eiseman believes that our reaction to colors “goes beyond the psychological into the physiological” and that colors carry inherent messages that all humans innately understand — the whispers of that “ancient wisdom.” She doesn’t deny the important influence of memory and social factors on color perception, but often, she says, “our response is involuntary, and we simply have no control over it.” As evidence, she points to word-association tests she has administered over the years during her work with Pantone. I asked to see a sample test and some results, but Eiseman refused and said they were proprietary. You can get a feel for her methods, though, from a 2015 interview she gave to Nautilus magazine. “You take a Pantone color chip and you ask, ‘Give us the first word that pops into your mind when you look at this color,’ and you see whether that corresponds to a positive, negative or indifferent response,” Eiseman said. “If you show people a chip of Pantone Sky Blue, about 90 percent or more will respond in the same way: It’s the color of the sky, it’s bright, it’s a light color, it reminds you of that openness. It’s a near-universal response that you get.”

Last October, Eiseman published her 10th book, “The Complete Color Harmony, Pantone Edition,” her boldest statement yet on the psychology of color — and one that might rightly be displayed in the self-help section. Consider a chapter titled, “Personal Colors: What Do They Say About You?” which offers a kind of chromatic horoscope that locates truths not in the cosmos but in the spectrum of visible light. Take blue, my favorite color. “Blue people aspire to harmony, serenity, patience, perseverance and peace, and have a calming influence on other people,” she writes. “You are generally unflappable, even-tempered and reliable, a team player and good co-worker.”

Yep, that’s me down to the ground, I thought as I read it. But what about people who don’t like blue? “Perhaps you want to change your job, a relationship or even your life, and long for more excitement,” Eiseman writes. “You wish that you were wealthy or brilliant (or both), because that would enable you to have all the good things in life without working so hard.”

All that from a color? And the fortunetelling continues. Do you like green? “You are the good citizen, concerned parent, involved neighbor, the joiner of clubs and organizations.” Have an aversion to red? You may be “irritable, exhausted or bothered by many problems.” Yellow? “You are optimistic, hopeful and encourage others to do their best.” Perhaps strangest of all, though, is Eiseman’s observation about those of us who dislike blue-green shades like turquoise or teal: “A little voice inside you (was it your mother, your father or your roommate?) keeps telling you to clean up your room.”

The flip tone of these pronouncements, combined with the lack of any grounding in scientific rigor or research apart from Eiseman’s own observations, may tempt you to dismiss color psychology altogether, consigning it to the bin with other junk sciences, like phrenology or cold fusion. But a great many people take it seriously — so many, in fact, that for all my searching, I found only one person willing to question it. When I put Eiseman’s assertions to David Comberg, a senior lecturer of design at the University of Pennsylvania, he scoffed and said that color preferences are highly subjective, unpredictable and, in his experience, “primarily influenced by culture and emotion and are not easily quantified.” When we see red, for instance, are we reacting to the color itself or to a personal experience, perhaps buried in the subconscious, that we associate with it? “And what about taste, smell and sound? Artificial intelligence and neuroscience may one day answer all this, but I’m not sure,” Comberg said. “It all seems subjective and irrational.”

But among people in Eiseman’s profession, as with the hordes of credulous color enthusiasts who populate the internet, her views are not only uncontroversial but well within the mainstream. “We are born to understand that green equals calming, because it’s found in nature; red equals danger, because it’s the color of blood,” Jenny Ross, a creative- design manager in the footwear department at New Balance, told me. “Yellow equals energy, because it’s the color of the sun.” WGSN’s Jane Monnington Boddy agreed, saying, “People do have an inbuilt, preprogrammed understanding of colors, as animals do in nature.” What else explains our instinct to recoil from red-and-black snakes, she asked, or from yellow-and-black flying insects?

Ultimately, though, whether blue makes you think of the sky or Papa Smurf, by this point, color psychology may matter less to Pantone’s success than something much less mysterious. “How do you sell color?” David Shah had asked me rhetorically when I met him in London. “You can be 10 times cleverer than me. You can be much more intelligent, much more creative. But it’s Pantone, with a million Instagram followers. If you’re hidden away, even though your color is better, you don’t win the argument.”

At a certain point, Pantone’s prognostications began to take on the weight of self-fulfilling prophecies. Much like investors who base financial decisions on the assessments of Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, Pantone’s clientele seems to understand that, for all the time and effort the company expends in identifying color trends, it’s the judgments themselves, regardless of the research behind them, that matter most. “Because of our platform, we’re able to promote,” Shah said. “And it’s self-perpetuating — when people believe you’re right, they buy you. You get to be right!”

When I brought up the Color of the Year, Shah trod carefully at first — “I’m not going to say anything about what I think about this, O.K.?” — then went on: “You might go: ‘Oh, my God! That’s the most awful color in the world! Who would choose it?’ And then you’re like, ‘I better be careful, because it’s the Pantone Color of the Year, and everybody’s looking at it, and if I don’t, I could be left out.’ When you’ve got a platform like that, you can say it’s the color of my toenails! Can I afford not to do it, even if I don’t believe in it? It’s a lot of smoke and mirrors.” The New York Times Magazine


Paint while you wait for your plane at Pittsburgh airport

FINDLAY TWP., PA: There’s a fun and relaxing new way to kill a little time at Pittsburgh International Airport.

And you don’t even need to tip a bartender.

Instead, grab a paintbrush at Paint Monkey.

Set up smack dab in the middle of Concourse B in the airport’s airside terminal, Paint Monkey is a do-it-yourself paint studio.

For $20, you can plop down at a stool and create a work of art that’s nice to look at and easy to carry. Utilizing quick dry paint, the entire process might take you 20 minutes, as you paint on a canvas within pre-sketched lines to end up with a wall hanging depicting local sports logos, nature scenes, familiar emojis, Pittsburgh’s skyline, cute critters or other eye-catching imagery.

A Paint Monkey staffer can help you mix and choose paints, “and having a pre-sketch allows everybody to paint it in a way that it looks like something,” owner Joe Groom said. (Though free-form designs are welcome, too.)

Another option popular with kids is the $10 spin art, where you sit at a stationary bike and pedal, putting into a spinning motion a cylinder you’ve poured paints into, creating an abstract painting as has been done for decades at Kennywood Park.

Paint Monkey’s open-air art kiosk has caught on with families, friends, flight attendants and traveling business people, Groom said.

“This is the first time it’s been at the airport, so the curiosity is kind of neat,” said Groom, who also operates Paint Monkey DIY paint studios in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville, Waterfront at Homestead and McCandless Crossings neighborhoods.

The airport setting is unique, deemed different enough to be one of two retailers featured by Google Small Business in a documentary about Pittsburgh’s small businesses.

Think about it the next time your flight has been delayed and you need to do something to pass the time.

“Or most people come early to the airport; we’ve found they might be here an hour or an hour-and-a-half ahead of time,” Groom said.

Rather than staring at their smart phone that whole time, they can get indulge their artistic side.

As part of the airport’s popup business program, Paint Monkey will be stationed there at least several months. Initial reaction has been strong.

“We’re hearing a lot of positive chatter and seeing a lot of smiles in Concourse B,” Pittsburgh International Airport communications manager Alyson Walls said. “Painting at the airport is such a unique and fun concept, and people are pleasantly surprised to learn that they can do that here while they wait for flights. It’s a great activity for kids.”

Paint Monkey fits an airport initiative launched three years ago to enhance the passenger experience by offering more amenities and better services throughout the terminal, including the addition of more local food, music, art and culture.

“Along with our permanent art and cultural displays like the T-rex from the Carnegie Science Center, Mister Rogers kiosk and Franco Harris and George Washington figures from the Heinz History Center, Paint Monkey provides a fun and engaging way for passengers to pass the time, not to mention a nice souvenir from their time in Pittsburgh,” Walls said.

Groom said, “it’s been a lot of fun,” adding that there’s even an enjoyable way to multi-task at Paint Monkey.

“I’ve found out the whole airport is sort of a bar, so if you get a wine from one of the wine stores or a drink from Martini, you can bring it here,” Groom said. “It’s sort of a BYOB place.” The Times


Art Museums in Puerto Rico Face Long and Expensive Recovery

SAN JUAN, P.R.: Marianne Ramírez Aponte, the executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Juan, had never been so worried.

Her collection of hundreds of paintings, posters, prints, drawings, sculptures and installations had survived the wind and rain of Hurricane Maria. But the museum was dark, without electricity and air conditioning. No one knew when the power would be back on. The temperature and the humidity were rising.

The danger was mold and mildew. The fungus could seriously damage — if not destroy — her art. “It was very, very stressful,” Ms. Ramírez said.

Her solution was to have her maintenance crew, with battery-powered saws and drills, hack big, rectangular vents into a wall in her largest gallery. She had turned the gallery into a vault for all the art that had been on display. She opened the doors, and the vents created cross ventilation.

All around Puerto Rico, museum directors and their staffs scrambled to protect their art. Months later, they seem to have largely succeeded. Most museum buildings were spared heavy damage and, although assessments are still coming in, no widespread or lasting harm to the art has been reported.

Even so, the museums’ recovery from the hurricane in September that news reports say killed an estimated 1,000 people — many for reasons apparently related to a power outage that went on for months — is going to be expensive. Much of the museum repair work is going to require carpenters, masons and metal workers who can deal with uncommon stone and brick treatments, wrought iron, carved wood, murals, glass works, mosaics and ornamental landscaping. Some experts see the costs running into the tens of millions of dollars. And Brinnen Carter, a National Park Service cultural official who is leading a federal assessment team, said, “That could be on the low side.”

Consider the price tag for fixing the Spanish Colonial headquarters building of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in Old San Juan. The Institute oversees the National Gallery, the National Archive and 30 other historic buildings and culturally significant parks.

Wanda Barbosa Nevarez, the institute’s director of finance and accountability, said that nearly all of the 202 doors, window frames and shutters carved in the 1840s from Uruguayan wood were cracked, warped or worse. Wrought iron fencing was torn down. Some brickwork crumbled. The estimated cost of repairs: $1.57 million.

The museums are not expecting much government help. Puerto Rico is struggling economically, with $74 billion in debt, $49 billion in pension obligations, and unemployment more than double the 4.1 percent rate on the mainland.

Much of the damage may be covered by private insurance and federal agencies, federal and Puerto Rico officials said. Ms. Barbosa said the insurance claim for the Institute’s losses alone would probably exceed $11 million.

Money has been coming from foundations, universities and fund-raising events around the United States. Marta Mabel Pérez, the acting director of the Museum of Puerto Rican Art in San Juan, said she had received $110,000 from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. Northwestern University is sending $100,000 to train artists working with the Museum of Contemporary Arts to reach wider audiences.

Most of the rubble of Hurricane Maria has been cleaned up. But the hardest hit places still show their scars. One broad, curving wall at the Museum of Puerto Rican Art had been clad in copper sheets. The storm peeled off all the copper and some of the plywood backing. The sculpture garden had been thick with trees and shrubs. Now it is a grassy field with a few propped-up trees and two big, saucer-shaped lily ponds. “We lost 90 percent of the garden,” Ms. Pérez said. “Before the hurricane, you could barely see the ponds.”

Two University of Puerto Rico art museums lost chunks of their roofs: Casa Roig, a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired two-story house 45 minutes south of San Juan, and the Museum of Art at the Mayagüez campus on the west coast. Casa Roig’s paneled ceilings partially collapsed. The wind blew out windows and broke a set of stained glass interior doors. It ripped tiles off mosaics. Putting Casa Roig back together is expected to cost nearly $400,000.

In Mayagüez, Zorali De Feria, the museum director, found mold on a mural and a handful of paintings. She gave them first aid and alternated putting the paintings briefly in the sunlight and in the shade of a breezeway.

Right after the storm, in her unlit office, Ms. De Feria wrote out a plea for help in longhand. The National Endowment for the Humanities sent her $30,000. Ms. Ramírez, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, also received $30,000 from the Endowment. She is putting her money toward the purchase of a generator that, with installation, is going to cost $110,000. “We need a generator, too,” Ms. De Feria said. The electricity came back sooner for both museums than in most of the island, but generators would have greatly reduced the risk and the stress.

Ms. Pérez, who is also president of the Association of Puerto Rican Art Museums, and her colleagues have begun to rethink almost everything about their museums and hurricanes. Many museums did not have emergency operations plans. Some did not have home addresses for staff members. Cellphones and landlines were knocked out. Gasoline and diesel fuel were scarce. The museums became isolated.

With help from the Smithsonian and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Ms. Pérez has been organizing conferences and workshops. At the top of the agenda: satellite telephones, generators and extra fuel tanks. Solar panels have been mentioned, and some art specialists are enthusiastic about creating emergency art storage vaults around the island, perhaps by converting buildings at abandoned but well-maintained military bases.

One afternoon in Ponce, on the south coast, Alejandra Peña Gutiérrez gently patted the big, green Cummins generator that kept her Edward Durell Stone-designed Ponce Museum of Art safe. “It was everything for us,” said Ms. Peña, the executive director. Rain water soaked the carpet in her auditorium and the gardens were a mess. But that was about it.

Ms. Peña’s biggest concern had been how to keep her generator going. She had enough fuel for a few days. She could not find her regular fuel supplier. She could not phone anyone for help. She got a tip to try a diesel dealer about an hour away. It turned out that the dealer had been an amateur actor in the museum’s annual Three Kings pageant. The minute they saw each other, her diesel fuel worries were over. The New York Times


Women Art Workers in Argentina Demand Gender Equality, and Museums Start to Listen
Women in the arts across Argentina are protesting as an organized entity, through the group Nosotras Proponemos, demanding gender parity in the art world.

BUENOS AIRES: After starting the day with a ruidazo — noise making — to make themselves heard, 700,000 women in Argentina yesterday gathered in front of the country’s congress demanding gender equality, an end to femicides, and the right to control their own bodies, following legislation that politicians introduced on Tuesday that would legalize abortion. Among these women were gallerists, museum workers, academics and artists from all disciplines, across generations and from many corners of the country. For the first time, women in the arts across Argentina protested as an organized entity, through the group Nosotras Proponemos, or “We Propose,” demanding gender parity in the art world.

Out of the 47 major exhibits at the National Museum of Fine Arts in the last five years, only two starred female artists. The National Prize of Honor has had 92 male winners as opposed to a mere five female ones since 1911. And the last arteBA art fair only had 30% women represented in their main section, equaling the percentage of women artists exhibited at the Argentinian pavilion at the Venice Biennale over the last 17 years. In their manifesto-like list of 37 demands, Nosotras Proponemos asks for equal representation in exhibitions, collections, and leadership positions. But the patriarchal system within the arts runs deep, so this, the group admits, will take time.

Their first step is to make people aware. Over 30 museums and art centers from the southernmost part of Argentina, Patagonia, to villages in the Northern Andes region of Jujuy, accepted Nosotras Proponemos’s invitation to highlight art made by women — literally. Lights in exhibition spaces have been turned off and only works made by female artists shine in the spotlights. Most of the spaces remain immersed in darkness. With this powerful, performative gesture, the unequal representation becomes clear with one glance. At the provincial Museum Dr. Pedro E. Martinez in Entre Rios, for example, only one work was lit yesterday. Marcela Canalis, the museum’s director, explained: “The exhibit deals with the origins of our collection, and yes, there is only one work, out of the 17 on display, which is made by a female artist, Emilia Bertole.” She quickly added that women are equally represented as men in the museum’s temporary exhibits, prizes, and juries.

The National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires will also be shrouded in darkness during the month of March from 6 to 6:30pm, when the lights will only remain lit over a small amount of art by women hanging in the first-floor galleries. The artistic director, Mariana Marchesi, has been wandering the floor to observe visitors’ reactions and handing out copies of Nosotras Proponemos’s demands. “To give it some context. Most people are not expecting this,” she said with a smile. Upon explaining the museum’s position, she confessed that “it is difficult to change the past. And you have to understand, that we are also a historic museum. Yes, the proportion of women in our collection is low — around 500 works out of 13,000 — but we are committed to take up Nosotras Proponemos’s valid arguments, discuss the current imbalance and make a change, where we can.”

There is one corner of the National Museum that is aglow, where a temporary exhibit A la conquista de la luna (Conquesting the moon) has been set up, featuring only women. One of the works is “Bocanada,” a photographic collage of open mouths, waiting to be fed or ready to scream. It is by Graciela Sacco, a socially engaged artist, who passed away last year. Her passing inspired artist Leticia Obeid to use her Facebook wall last November to express her sorrow and suggest a 10-point list on changes that need to be made in the art world. Her to-do list for a less patriarchal system went viral and formed the base for the 37-point declaration, which was signed by over 3,000 people within a period of three weeks. It was then that Nosotras Proponemos was born.

Only five months later more than 200 women joined Obeid with colorful banners, cheerful chants, and purple bracelets in the streets of Buenos Aires on International Women’s Day. “It is a sign,” she said, “that women are ready for this change, which we can achieve collectively. In only a short period of time, this experience has already changed us so much. We realize that our individual problems and limitations are shared, and by talking about them, amongst each other, we learn to understand and might be able to change the rules of this game […] I believe that what we are doing is a small contribution to something much bigger.”

The first responses to Nosotras Proponemos have already been overwhelming. Yesterday, at the Caraffa Fine Arts Museum in Córdoba, Argentina, there were only male employees at the museum, as women left to strike. The galleries of the National University of Misiones in Obera were wallpapered with hundreds of names of local female artists, an action initiated by Nosotras Proponemos with the Museum of Latin American Art in Buenos Aires (MALBA), where the director himself, Agustín Pérez Rubio, placed more than 1,300 names of female artists on the façade of the museum. An advocate of gender parity, Pérez Rubio has tried closing the gap as much as possible since becoming the MALBA director in 2014. During the last three years of his directorship, 80% of acquisitions were of art made by women; as a result, 45% of the art on permanent view is now by women. The MALBA also has a wing continuously exhibiting female Latin American artists who should have had more merit in their lifetime, such as Annemarie Heinrich, Teresa Burgess, Claudia Andujar, and Mirtha Dermisache. Later on Friday, the museum’s doorsteps will be taken over by Nosotras Proponemos who’ll perform Susana Thénon’s poem entitled “Why is this woman shouting?”

The woman shouts until she no longer can. A woman is murdered every 30 hours in Argentina just for being a woman. Nosotras Proponemos just started shouting and they won’t be resting until changes occur in the arts, which, Obeid hopes, could be a small contribution to change within society at large. In the meantime, the group will continue to organize. In June, members will join a Wikipedia “Edit-a-thon” to update its data on female artists. The group has also asked institutions across Argentina to gather the actual data on gender disparity. By making them count, they can become aware and hopefully be open for change. Hyperallergic


Calgary art instructors get boost as laid-off workers look to reconnect with their passion
Art workshops popular with laid-off engineers, says instructor

Some Calgary artists say while the economy has taken a toll on the city, it's bringing out the creativity in some Calgarians and offering a unique business opportunity.

Last year, after deciding to give up on selling his large paintings, Brian "Bunny" Batista opened an art studio, called Atelier Artista, at cSPACE in the 100-year-old King Edward School.

Very quickly he discovered the fizzling economy was pushing some Calgarians to reconnect with their passion.

"What I've seen as a trend in the economic downturn is a major increase in the students of art," said Batista, taking a break from teaching a group of students how to draw the human form in his colourful, light-filled studio.

Batista says his workshops quickly became populated with laid-off engineers.

When he spotted the trend, he started asking students to raise their hands if they fit that description. "It would be one or two in the beginning and then it was half my class was engineers."

Batista, whose eclectic studio is adorned with large paintings, wooden easels and an antique school chalkboard, says his classes keep growing.

"People [are] wanting maybe to recapture something from their youth that they lost ... maybe they're laid off and have more time to focus on the study of art."

Bringing them joy
In a time when many businesses are struggling, Kensington Art Supply owner Annette Wichmann says her shop is also experiencing a bit of an upswing.

According to Wichmann, she's seen an increase in both sales of art supplies and growth in the number of people taking art classes.

‚Äč"There's not a lot of time sometimes for art until circumstances change and then all of the sudden there you are back on our doorstep looking for art supplies," said Wichmann who has talked to a number of laid-off oil and gas workers who frequent the shop.

"They have an opportunity to get back to something that brought them joy and something that gave them comfort or made them happy — in an otherwise stressful time," said Wichmann.

Mary-Leigh Doyle, an artist who rents out teaching space at Kensington Art Supply, wasn't really surprised when she started seeing students attending who had lost their jobs and were suddenly faced with more free time.

"They are looking to the things that they've had to push to the side for the rest of their careers. I'm not surprised to see them come," said Doyle, who worries her students won't continue pursuing art once they return to work.

"I'm always concerned I'm going to lose them and they're not going to be able to achieve the outcomes they hope to," said Doyle.

Keeping the artistic connection
Brian "Bunny" Batista is determined to at least try and maintain a connection with those who have rediscovered a passion for art. He plans start offering evening classes, so as his laid-off students find jobs, they can keep doing what they love.

"In an economic downturn, I started a business and my business is already successful — in art." CBC News


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